A Journey to Home— Mission.

DREAMING DREAMS

By Christian Love Daroy-Gagno “Wow! Ang ganda!” (Wow! Beautiful!) 12-year-old Annie Murillo exclaimed as she absorb the sights and sounds of the University of Santo Tomas, which is just a stone’s t…

Source: DREAMING DREAMS

Opportunity matters for success.

kapatiran stories

By Hanna Marie Flores

I know for a fact that education is the key to a person’s success. That’s why if a genie in a bottle would grant me a superpower, I would ask for the ability to educate each and every one of the children around the world.

That would be awesome, wouldn’t it? But then, I am only an ordinary human being with limited time and resources. Reality sometimes frustrate me, especially since I am an educator working for a social development-oriented NGO.

Why is it that no matter how much effort I exert, it feels like they are never enough? It’s not that we, at the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI), are not trying. We are, I assure you. And work, we continue to do.

But I want to tell you something incredible. What I found out lately is that when you simply work, blessings and opportunities come…

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Lost and Found

He used to be on the streets, walking about constantly to beg from motorists, passengers and passers-by even under the heat of the sun with his so-called “Lolo” (not his real grandfather), who brought him to Pulilan, Bulacan from Dumaguete City.

One day, the boy woke up alone. His “Lolo” was gone. The old man was gone and the boy had nowhere to go. So the latter stayed put in Pulilan and did what he had always done—roam the streets of the town to beg in order to survive through the day.

One day, while in front of a local bank, somebody took pity of him and brought him to a house. But soon, he was brought to the barangay (village) hall where the officers asked where his family was. He answered: “They are dead.” It was a rehearsed line his “Lolo” told him to say whenever he was asked the question.

The wife of the barangay chairman took him home, but “Bai,” as he was called by everybody, could not shake off the manners and culture of the mean streets he got accustomed with. Often, Bai would go back to the world he knew too well. The barangay chairman’s wife soon decided to bring the boy to Gilead Center because “he needed healing.”

The Gilead Center people soon found out that it was not easy to have Bai around. He would badmouth, disrespect, and break rules on a regular basis. He caused troubles among other children to get attention.

But people at Gilead Center refused to give up on Bai. They enrolled the 12-year-old boy to the local elementary school, but as a Grade 1 student although he had passed Grade 2 and should be enrolled in Grade 3. The school insisted on having proof of such, but Bai did not have any.

Bai struggled at school, but it was a good thing the house parents and the administrator were there to help him survive the academic world. He really wanted to learn how to read and used his free time to practice reading.

Through the Dawn Watch activity in Gilead, Bai became confident enough to stand in front of his co-residents and read the Bible. Gilead Center organized a baptism for the lost child with no documents. Visitors from Georgia-based La Grange stood as his godparents and the Rev. Fernando Bawan, the then KKFI chaplain, baptized Joshua Fernandez.

Bai has become a transformed child. The foster mother was so happy when he visited them and he kissed her hand for blessing. He learned how to obey the elders and socialize with other children. He was also trained to do household chores and even wash his own clothes. He was in charge of watering the plants.

The young student who once deemed learning a monumental struggle was awarded the fourth honor in his class during the school’s recognition day.

One night, the new Mission Intern from General Board of Global Ministries heard Bai arguing with other boys, saying: “Inaaway n’yo ako kasi ako lang ang walang nanay dito.”

The intern talked with Bai, who opened up to her. He revealed where he really came from and told her about his story. Coincidentally, she has several friends in the place where he came from.

“Ate, pwede po bang makauwi na ako ngayong summer?” Bai pleaded. He said wanted to look for his mother, who happened to be alive and looking for her lost son all those years.

On April 16, 2014, his real grandfather came to see Bai. With tears in the grandfather’s eyes, he embraced the child joyfully. The family thought he was dead. But they are grateful to see him alive and well. He was flown home and great was the rejoicing of the family for the boy who was lost is now found.

Before he left, I asked how he was feeling. Bai replied “I am so happy, Ate, that I am going home now. I have longed for this day to see my mother again. Thank you for what you’ve done and for what KKFI has done for me.”

bai and mommy

“Ayan na, yayakapin na tayo ni Ate Love, (Ate Love is going to hug us)” said one of the kids as they get ready to go home after a tutorial class one afternoon.

The girl, one of the children at-risk and recipient of the program Kalinga Mo, Kinabukasan Ko (KMKK), always looked forward to this “ritual” every time a session ends.
gt pic

The KMKK is a joint program of the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) and the municipal government of Pulilan in Bulacan. It aims to take care of the needs of the town’s street children and children-at-risk.

The project is intended for children, their families and communities in Pulilan and it aims to: provide development & protective services to street children and youth, including school dropouts; promote child protection issues and responsible parenting; implement psycho-social intervention; strengthen the Local Council for the Protection of Children; and conduct livelihood trainings.

The program zeroed in on two areas: Tramo, also dubbed as “Little Tondo,” where many young sampaguita flower vendors live; and Longos, a community in the town’s dumpsite where many families live off other people’s “garbage.”

The KMKK’s profiling showed that children in the two communities needed tutorial services. Last June 21, 2014, the tutorial service was launched. It initially served 50 children-at-risk aged between 5 and 15 years old from Tramo and Longos Dumpsite who started attending tutorial classes from Tuesday to Thursday from 4 pm to 6 pm.

The Church of the Living Water United Methodist Church has graciously opened their doors to serve as the venue of the classes. Math, English, Reading and Comprehension are the emphases of the tutorial services. It is also a safe space where children can play and do artwork while learning.
Once a month, these children gather at Gilead Center for Life Skills training. This is also a time where they can connect to their Creator through worship and fellowship with their co-creations.

Private sectors have started to be part of the program by providing snacks for the children. The local mayor’s office, the local branch of the Department of Social Work and Development, and the barangays of Pulilan work hand-in-hand with KKFI to achieve a child-friendly municipality and community for the children-at-risk.

Kalinga Mo, Kinabukasan Ko is now catering to 80 children from both communities. Educational assistance is provided to them and KMKK aims to develop not only these children but also the families and the communities where they belong.

Care is not only about hugs but also truly providing security that lasts for a lifetime and even a generation.

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Partner Like No Other

Two heads are better than one as the saying goes. Sometimes I agree it’s true but I also see that sometimes it’s better to be alone. Since we were kids, partnership is embedded in teaching and training on how we socialize with others. And even it is not being taught, it is the innate of people that magnets partnership. That’s why there are terms “bestfriend”, “boyfriend/girlfriend”, “spouse”, “partner”, and the like. The Lord knows the dynamic of partnership that’s why when Jesus sent the seventy two, He sent them by pairs… And when He called me to mission, He has given me a partner to serve in Grenada. A lot of thoughts came to me when I learn that I’ll be working with someone who is somehow the end pole of me. Since it’s her 25th birthday today, let me share her story and our story together. A tribute to a partner like no other.  

Image

American. Yeah, she is white American. Tall. Blonde hair. Western. In culture, race, color and height, we are different. But what can I do? I was destined to work with this person for 17 months! We have no choice. We can’t send each other back home or somewhere else but accept that we will be “partners in mission” or maybe “partners in crime”.

Naughty or Nice? “She seems nice” I said to myself when I was observing her during our training. She is quiet though. Maybe she rarely spoke her mind as others are overcrowding the discussion, but I saw her confidence even while listening. And I know she made an effort to be nicer to me knowing we’ll be together.

Not-so-ordinary days were the next we had after we landed on the West Indies.  On weekdays at 9:00am or so I was calling her name, sat with her at the bus to the office, work with her for the whole day, and even extend some hours at night to debrief some things or just hang out with one another, with some kids or friends. The more that I get to know her, the more I admire the masterpiece in our reach.

She is a work of Art.  She is a collision of right and left hemispheres of the brain. A very intellectual woman, graduated with honors in college, a champion of minute math (and math as a whole), gifted in grammar and words as she is very competitive with banana grams (wink), eloquent in speech and a writer. She is also an enthusiast of art. She’s very creative. Our classes, both in after-school-class and Sunday school with kids, were dynamic because of the crafts and activities we did when she prepared or innovated.

But one thing I admire the most, she is a Jesus-lover. She took a brave step to leave her comfort zone and serve the Lord somewhere she didn’t know. We have moments that we just sit down and talk about our faith. Growing up was not easy for her and her family but she chose to love the Lord than ignore Him. And that love she has is radiating and inspiring others even the non-believers.

My partner is Outstanding. She strives to excel in all things. She makes sure that all things are in place which is very helpful in the ministry. She is amazing in handling boys and girls and more boys when they crowd her place at night. A great source of encouragement and affirmation. She is an awesome cook and baker. Very good in connecting with people near and far. A woman of nature, a hiker, an explorer, an admirer of critters, and a lover of mother earth. And one thing I can’t forget that she is excellent at: keeping the food waste in the fridge to keep the flies until the collection of the garbage is happening. She taught me well. J

One day on our Sunday school, we talked about names and their meanings. I asked her, “what does Anna means?” and she replied “Grace”. Big word, ain’t? I believe that you are your name. I would affirm that she is a manifestation of God’s grace. A woman who believes, cares and loves especially those who were rejected by the society. Somebody who would open doors even to a branded-theft who needs shelter. A woman who forgives and gives second, third or more chances.

Indeed, my friend is an Inspiration. Her life is a testimony that God is good. Her love for the Lord, for her family, friends, co-leagues, her children, the people around her and people not in her circle (may it be in Columbia or Kenya or South Africa) is contagious.

Isn’t she Lovely? It’s not about the whiteness that shines like a diamond what attracts men who want to marry her. It’s not only about being different in the crowd. But she is beautiful inside out. And I believe, the Lord will greatly bless her with a man after God’s own heart as she is a woman the Lord delights. And on her 25th year of existence, I declare blessing, love, joy, peace, grace, perseverance, fruits, and wholeness on this day and the days, months and years to come.

Introvert and Extrovert. A Storyteller and a Craftmaker. American and Filipino. Quiet and Loud. We had our moments of conflicts and disagreements but our joyful moments were more. We may be different in so many ways but the Lord has put us together to fill the gaps that we can fulfill the mission He has for us. I could not ask for another partner to be with in Grenada than her. I have learned so much about life and partnership. My world is a better place because she’s in it. She is a partner like no other. I am Christian Love Daroy, grateful to experience the Love of Christ through Anna Jo Gill. My partner, you are dearly loved from east to west.   

Happy Birthday Anna! J I’m missing you big time! I love you.

 

Two heads are better than one as the saying goes. Sometimes I agree it’s true but I also see that sometimes it’s better to be alone. Since we were kids, partnership is embedded in teaching and training on how we socialize with others. And even it is not being taught, it is the innate of people that magnets partnership. That’s why there are terms “bestfriend”, “boyfriend/girlfriend”, “spouse”, “partner”, and the like. The Lord knows the dynamic of partnership that’s why when Jesus sent the seventy two, He sent them by pairs… And when He called me to mission, He has given me a partner to serve in Grenada. A lot of thoughts came to me when I learn that I’ll be working with someone who is somehow the end pole of me. Since it’s her 25th birthday today, let me share her story and our story together. A tribute to a partner like no other.  

Image

American. Yeah, she is white American. Tall. Blonde hair. Western. In culture, race, color and height, we are different. But what can I do? I was destined to work with this person for 17 months! We have no choice. We can’t send each other back home or somewhere else but accept that we will be “partners in mission” or maybe “partners in crime”.

Naughty or Nice? “She seems nice” I said to myself when I was observing her during our training. She is quiet though. Maybe she rarely spoke her mind as others are overcrowding the discussion, but I saw her confidence even while listening. And I know she made an effort to be nicer to me knowing we’ll be together.

Not-so-ordinary days were the next we had after we landed on the West Indies.  On weekdays at 9:00am or so I was calling her name, sat with her at the bus to the office, work with her for the whole day, and even extend some hours at night to debrief some things or just hang out with one another, with some kids or friends. The more that I get to know her, the more I admire the masterpiece in our reach.

She is a work of Art.  She is a collision of right and left hemispheres of the brain. A very intellectual woman, graduated with honors in college, a champion of minute math (and math as a whole), gifted in grammar and words as she is very competitive with banana grams (wink), eloquent in speech and a writer. She is also an enthusiast of art. She’s very creative. Our classes, both in after-school-class and Sunday school with kids, were dynamic because of the crafts and activities we did when she prepared or innovated.

But one thing I admire the most, she is a Jesus-lover. She took a brave step to leave her comfort zone and serve the Lord somewhere she didn’t know. We have moments that we just sit down and talk about our faith. Growing up was not easy for her and her family but she chose to love the Lord than ignore Him. And that love she has is radiating and inspiring others even the non-believers.

My partner is Outstanding. She strives to excel in all things. She makes sure that all things are in place which is very helpful in the ministry. She is amazing in handling boys and girls and more boys when they crowd her place at night. A great source of encouragement and affirmation. She is an awesome cook and baker. Very good in connecting with people near and far. A woman of nature, a hiker, an explorer, an admirer of critters, and a lover of mother earth. And one thing I can’t forget that she is excellent at: keeping the food waste in the fridge to keep the flies until the collection of the garbage is happening. She taught me well. J

One day on our Sunday school, we talked about names and their meanings. I asked her, “what does Anna means?” and she replied “Grace”. Big word, ain’t? I believe that you are your name. I would affirm that she is a manifestation of God’s grace. A woman who believes, cares and loves especially those who were rejected by the society. Somebody who would open doors even to a branded-theft who needs shelter. A woman who forgives and gives second, third or more chances.

Indeed, my friend is an Inspiration. Her life is a testimony that God is good. Her love for the Lord, for her family, friends, co-leagues, her children, the people around her and people not in her circle (may it be in Columbia or Kenya or South Africa) is contagious.

Isn’t she Lovely? It’s not about the whiteness that shines like a diamond what attracts men who want to marry her. It’s not only about being different in the crowd. But she is beautiful inside out. And I believe, the Lord will greatly bless her with a man after God’s own heart as she is a woman the Lord delights. And on her 25th year of existence, I declare blessing, love, joy, peace, grace, perseverance, fruits, and wholeness on this day and the days, months and years to come.

Introvert and Extrovert. A Storyteller and a Craftmaker. American and Filipino. Quiet and Loud. We had our moments of conflicts and disagreements but our joyful moments were more. We may be different in so many ways but the Lord has put us together to fill the gaps that we can fulfill the mission He has for us. I could not ask for another partner to be with in Grenada than her. I have learned so much about life and partnership. My world is a better place because she’s in it. She is a partner like no other. I am Christian Love Daroy, grateful to experience the Love of Christ through Anna Jo Gill. My partner, you are dearly loved from east to west.   

Happy Birthday Anna! J I’m missing you big time! I love you.

 

Broken into Beautiful

“I started grade one when I was 11 but it did not stop me to pursue education” said the batch 2014 valedictorian of the school where one of our kids attended in Pulilan, Bulacan. 

I am thankful for the perseverance of kids like her…like our kids in Gilead. They may be the oldest in their classes. They may be different from their peers. But they are dreamers. They are pursuers. They are achievers. 

I’m so proud for their success in their studies. Four of them graduated in elementary, two others received awards, and two community scholars finished in high school. 

Hope can be kept. People still care. Dreams can be achieved. Love can be felt. Restoration can happen. Brokenness can turn into beautiful. 

 

 

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